Group proposes simple solution for paycheck problem
Illinois Policy pointed out a simple solution to Attorney General Lisa Madigan's power play to force passage of a state budget recently -- pass an appropriations bill.
Late last month, Madigan petitioned the St. Clair Circuit Court to allow Comptroller Susana Mendoza to stop paying state workers. The court had ordered Illinois to pay its workers in 2015, after the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) prevailed in court against Madigan. She had contended that the state had not appropriated funding to pay the workers and thus could not issue paychecks. The court found otherwise.
Madigan based her January petition on an Illinois Supreme Court decision that the state could not pay state workers their raises, which were negotiated by former Gov. Pat Quinn's administration, because there was not an appropriations bill in place.
While speculation is rife that Madigan is trying to force the legislature to pass a budget, no matter how out of balance, Illinois Policy pointed out the simple solution that would undermine her entire argument – pass an appropriations bill to pay the employees.
State Reps. Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) and Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) have already introduced bills to ensure state workers would be paid despite the continuing budget impasse. The legislature has a precedent for this action. It passed a bill in 2014 ensuring that lawmakers would continue receiving their paychecks despite the lack of a budget.
An appropriations bill to pay state workers would keep the state's services running. This would give the General Assembly time to hammer out a new budget deal that incorporates appropriate reforms and cost-cutting measures without hurting Illinois residents who depend on state services, state workers, their families and local economies.
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Springfield, IL - 62701